Transactional and Relational Approaches to Political Connections and the Cost of Debt
Journal of Corporate Finance,
This paper examines the economic effects of a firm's approach to developing and maintaining political connections. Specifically, we investigate whether lenders favor transactional connection as opposed to relational connection. By tracing firms in a politically volatile emerging democracy in Indonesia, we find that firms following a transactional political connection strategy experience a relatively lower cost of debt than those with a relational strategy. The effect is more pronounced for firms facing high financial distress. The finding is robust to cost of bank loans and a variety of regression methods. Overall, the evidence suggests that in times of frequently changing political regimes, firms benefit from a transactional relationship with politicians as it enables to update connection with the government in power. Relational connection is valuable for a firm only when the political regime connected with it gains power.
Corporate Misconduct and the Cost of Private Debt: Evidence from China
Comparative Economic Studies,
Using a comprehensive dataset of corporate lawsuits in China, we investigate the implications of corporate misconduct on the cost of private debt. Evidence reveals that firms involved in litigations obtain subsequent loans with stricter pricing terms, 15.1 percent higher loan spreads, than non-litigated borrowers. Strong political connection and repeated relationship help to flatten the sensitivity of loan pricing to litigation. Nonbank financial institutions react in stronger manner to corporate misconduct than traditional banks in pricing loans. Overall, we show that private debt holders care about borrowers’ wrongdoing in the past.
Politics, Banks, and Sub-sovereign Debt: Unholy Trinity or Divine Coincidence?
Deutsche Bundesbank Discussion Paper,
We exploit election-driven turnover in State and local governments in Germany to study how banks adjust their securities portfolios in response to the loss of political connections. We find that local savings banks, which are owned by their host county and supervised by local politicians, increase significantly their holdings of home-State sovereign bonds when the local government and the State government are dominated by different political parties. Banks' holdings of other securities, like federal bonds, bonds issued by other States, or stocks, are not affected by election outcomes. We argue that banks use sub-sovereign bond purchases to gain access to politically distant government authorities.
Borrowers Under Water! Rare Disasters, Regional Banks, and Recovery Lending ...
Connecting to Power: Political Connections, Innovation, and Firm Dynamics
NBER Working Paper,
How do political connections affect firm dynamics, innovation, and creative destruction? To answer this question, we build a firm dynamics model, where we allow firms to invest in innovation and/or political connection to advance their productivity and to overcome certain market frictions. Our model generates a number of theoretical testable predictions and highlights a new interaction between static gains and dynamic losses from rent-seeking in aggregate productivity. We test the predictions of our model using a brand-new dataset on Italian firms and their workers, spanning the period from 1993 to 2014, where we merge: (i) firm-level balance sheet data; (ii) social security data on the universe of workers; (iii) patent data from the European Patent Office; (iv) the national registry of local politicians; and (v) detailed data on local elections in Italy. We find that firm-level political connections are widespread, especially among large firms, and that industries with a larger share of politically connected firms feature worse firm dynamics. We identify a leadership paradox: when compared to their competitors, market leaders are much more likely to be politically connected, but much less likely to innovate. In addition, political connections relate to a higher rate of survival, as well as growth in employment and revenue, but not in productivity – a result that we also confirm using a regression discontinuity design.
Politically Connected Firms in Poland and Their Access to Bank Financing
Communist and Post-Communist Studies,
This paper characterizes politically connected firms and their access to bank financing. We determine that the relationship between political connections and access to long-term bank loans is weaker in Poland than in other emerging economies. The most probable explanation for this result is related to the instability of the political climate in Poland. We find that only certain kinds of political connections, such as recent connections, positively influenced access to bank financing during the sample period from 2001 to 2011. Moreover, we obtain also some evidence that the value of political connections increased during the 2007 crisis period and onward.
CEO Political Preference and Corporate Tax Sheltering
Journal of Corporate Finance,
We show that firms led by politically partisan CEOs are associated with a higher level of corporate tax sheltering than firms led by nonpartisan CEOs. Specifically, Republican CEOs are associated with more corporate tax sheltering even when their wealth is not tied with that of shareholders and when corporate governance is weak, suggesting that their tax sheltering decisions could be driven by idiosyncratic factors such as their political ideology. We also show that Democratic CEOs are associated with more corporate tax sheltering only when their stock-based incentives are high, suggesting that their tax sheltering decisions are more likely to be driven by economic incentives. In sum, our results support the political connection hypothesis in general but highlight that the specific factors driving partisan CEOs' tax sheltering behaviors differ. Our results imply that it may cost firms more to motivate Democratic CEOs to engage in more tax sheltering activities because such decisions go against their political beliefs regarding tax policies.